With all the good intent to publish these monthly updates asap at the start of each new month … well, you’ll excuse me if life, clients, and invoicing often take priority. Still, I appreciate you reading them and your feedback.
It’s going to be impossible to separate Family and Travel over the next few months, now that we are on the road as working travellers / digital nomads / lucky sods (depending on your perspective). This conflagration means I’ll have a combined ‘Travel and Family’ section on my new website (currently being designed by Jude Love from Love Communications), and if you are so inclined then do follow some sporadic Instagramming @TheHarmonyFamily.
So specifically on the family front…
I was away for a week in the USA by myself (well, just me and 2,000 of my closest friends at the NSA Influence conference) … and at just 4 months old, every week is distinctive so I missed a lot.
I missed the 4 month vaccines. At least Flash won’t think dada only hugs her when she’s about to get jabbed with a needle.
I also missed her first solids, which she devoured like a trooper! Waking up to the video, rather than being there in person, was a moment of up-and-down emotions. Interesting that big chunks of NSA Influence were dedicated to living the life of a professional speaker, with all the travel that entails, while also supporting your family back home.
Back home I went, for a few days to pick up the family, pack, and then head off to Europe on our 3 (4?) month adventure. Flash got to experience long-haul travel, and again I’m delighted that my calm and happy daughter was calm and happy, and has even managed jetlag with a 2am smile on her face!
I’ll focus on July: the real big stuff will come in August, though I know I’m teasing you with talk of Amsterdam and jet lag.
July was a big month of travel for all of us.
Firstly, we had two beautiful nights at Cedar Creek Lodges on Australia’s Gold Coast Hinterland. I was there running the ProTrade United Leadership Retreat, which was an incredibly valuable and powerful two days for the roughly 15 business founders and leaders that attended.
Unlike our Noosa trip in June where I was a keynote plenary speaker, I was running the entire Retreat – which did mean a lot less availability with the family. Still, some gorgeous bushwalks and a chance to catch up with friends in that part of the world demonstrate the value of a location-flexible business when you love to travel.
We had no sooner returned to Brisbane when we turned around, taking Flash’s first flight down to Sydney on a day-trip for a Christening. (I must get better at taking photos without Flash’s face, so I can share them here. She got to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, as we whizzed in and out.)
The general advice we’ve received from many parents is the importance of sucking during take-off and landing, to help equalise the air pressure and protect her ears. This generally looks like timing a feed for those critical moments … which any newborn parent will tell you is easier said than done. Either you have a great routine … so hope the flight takes off on time at exactly a designated feeding time … or (which is our case, as we juggle breast and bottle) there’s less of a routine, and you’re just hoping the baby is awake and hungry but not too early or too late.
On the flight down we timed it well; on the flight back she needed a definite feed in the lounge which meant she was less hungry come take-off. Thankfully, my calm and happy daughter takes after her father’s labrador tendencies – I blame boarding school for my ability and uncontrolled drive to eat whatever is put in front of me, and Flash will certainly attack a bottle whenever presented to her! A spare dummy also helps.
Remarkably, Flash and my beautiful wife Harmony returned to Sydney only a few days later, staying with some fabulous friends in Cronulla while I was away in the US. Flash had more flights in her first four months than I did in my first 18 years, and indeed by her first birthday will have flown more times than I did in my entire life pre-Honeymoon.
So yes, my US trip! If you’re not following / friends with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter then you probably missed the videos I did each night of the National Speakers Association “NSA Influence 19”. I won’t repeat that content, since they’re all still live…
Suffice it to say, the week in the States was an amazing opportunity and a valuable investment. I won the trip – an all expenses paid (though I upgraded myself to Business Class) trip from Australia to Denver, Colorado for the largest professional speakers event in the world. Once again, massive thanks to Jacqueline and the team at SpeakableYOU – your training and coaching has been immensely valuable to me and my business, and the networks I have built off the back of this prize will be worth even more.
(Needless to say, if you’re in Australia or the USA and looking for some Speaker Training or Professional Speaker Coaching, I highly recommend SpeakableYOU.)
I didn’t have time to see much of Denver unfortunately. Changes to flight loads back home meant we brought our Europe trip forward a day – as it was, I landed back in Brisbane on Friday and flew out again on Tuesday! All up I spent 51 hours in the air over just 2 weeks – good thing I love flying, though I now need to get serious about how my work can improve the environment because that effort alone is disgusting.
Income & Equity
Ah, the reason you’re all here rather than just looking at the Instagram pictures!
July’s income of $26,625 was the best of the year and one of my Top 5 months ever. You might remember our first target for calendar year 2019 was to generate $100,000 – and here I go and do a quarter of that in just one month, all while spending a week overseas.
Yeah, busy month. Some of this was squeezing in a few client projects (and the Retreat) before I am physically out of Australia for most of the rest of the year), which means the next few months won’t be as busy. Having already achieved our financial needs and some wants for the year, that’s not a bad thing.
Equity-wise, having 3-4 months overseas is having a big hit on our cash reserves. We actually went slightly backwards again in July, so are sitting at 44.45% of our Financial Independence target.
Perhaps the biggest outcome for me from NSA Influence was pondering this question that Harmony and I have: Are we content earning great money doing what we’ve been doing for 10 years (business coaching, and growing by raising prices occasionally and by travelling and therefore working only with clients who accept that)? OR Do we want to double down and commit to earning exceptional money, at the risk of letting go of the existing business beliefs and creating something new?
Activity: Clients / Marketing / Businesses
I spoke too soon when I said only 1 of my 8 core clients was going to use my overseas travel as an excuse to halt their coaching. In the end, 3 clients did – though the other two were my two smallest clients, so I’m not concerned.
Both have expressed a desire to re-engage. The reality is, that if the next few months work for our life, family, and business then we may look to do this more often or more permanently – so I’ll have to have that conversation with all my clients when we make a decision.
No progress (apart from more thinking) on my next consistent marketing push. Frustratingly, my Blackboard Fridays archives are currently offline as businessDEPOT rebrand themselves and their website – so I’m out of the country and doing no marketing at a time when I probably need to be doing it more. These are the tradeoffs sometimes.
I mean, the NSA Influence Lessons are going to be percolated for a little while and then BAM! adding value for years to come.
The more we combine travel and family, as with the Retreat example, the more we learn about what will and won’t work for us … and how many bottles we need to prepare each day.
I’ve talked a lot about the next few months – roughly, August to October in Europe, then some time November-December in the UK, with me probably in Brisbane for a few weeks in between – as being a great test for our future plans. Having finally finished Scott Adams’s How to fail at almost everything and still win big, I can see the connected between my plans for this trip and Scott’s advice to build Systems, not have Goals. We’re putting in place some serious systems for creating a location-independent business that allows our family to travel the world and still earn great incomes.
That’s pretty awesome, and we’re learning a lot.